Hailed by The New York Times as “the most powerful figure in China’s classical music scene,” the conductor Long Yu has devoted his career to steering China’s growing connection to classical music while familiarizing international audiences with the country’s most eminent musicians and composers.
Yu currently holds the top position in China’s most prominent orchestras – Artistic Director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra in Beijing and Music Director of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra – as well as Principal Guest Conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. He is also Co-Director of Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air (MISA) festival and Chair of the Artistic Committee of the Beijing Music Festival, an annual event that he founded in 1998 and served as Artistic Director until 2017. After 20 years at the helm, Yu stepped down as Music Director of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and is now Honorary Music Director and the Chair of the Artistic Committee. He is currently Vice President of the China Musicians Association and Chairman of the League of China Orchestras.
This 2023/24 Season, international guest appearances bring Yu together with The Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, and at home he performs with renowned artists including pianist Stephen Hough, violinist Leonidas Kavakos, Julian Rachlin, baritone Matthias Goerne and soprano Olga Peretyatko, among others. In the fall, he gives the world premiere of Aaron Zigman & Mark Campbell’s Émigré with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, co-commissioned by the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.
Under Yu’s baton, the China Philharmonic Orchestra became the first Chinese orchestra to perform at the Vatican’s Paul VI Auditorium, a concert attended by Pope Benedict XVI, marking a giant step in bridging East and West. In 2014, Yu led the China Philharmonic in the first Chinese orchestral performance at the BBC Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall, a concert viewed by millions of people across the United Kingdom.
In June 2018, Yu became the first Chinese conductor to sign an exclusive relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, leading to the recording releases of Orff: Carmina Burana (Live From the Forbidden City) (2019) and The Song of the Earth (2021). In 2019, he led the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra on a tour of the United States and Europe, with performances at the BBC Proms and Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, as well as the Edinburgh, Lucerne and Ravinia festivals.
Born in 1964 into a Shanghai musical family, Yu received his early musical education from his grandfather, the renowned composer Ding Shande, later continuing his studies at the Shanghai Conservatory and the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin.
In 2016, he was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and also awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2018, he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.